How would you make metal breast cups?

Hi folks,
I am looking to make some metal breast cups to sew onto a velvet bra. I would want them to conform to my own body's shape, ideally.   I haven't a clue as to how to start.  Any help out there?

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napabelly (author) 7 years ago
Wow! Thanks everyone, guess I should have known it would be pretty involved. Check out these baaaaad cups: http://laylabintali.com/id30.html I'm torn between these and the steam punk cups. May have to save metal fabrication for a later emanatinon!
The traditional method would be to beat soft metal into shape, a process you can find explained on-line and called "panel beating".

Another method, which takes access to a good sized woodlathe is spinning, make a wooden approximation to your cup size, and forms a sheet of metal to the right shape.

Or you could use plastic castings. If you want a really close fit, make a mould with an alginate mouldmaking material, then cast that with plaster to make a master form, then paint it with resin.

Steve
Good point. I had forgotten about spinning, mainly because I don't have a big enough lathe or the right tools. Makes nice symmetrical pieces, though.
You don't need a very sophisticated one, but it needs to have some "grunt", we've done it with one of ours, and 6 feet of 3 x 2 !

Yeah, there's the problem. No grunt at all. Turns knife handles and pens beautifully, but not so much the metal spinning. Sigh.
keydogstony7 years ago
Well you could just buy some. Really. I couldn't believe it.

Look
Well sure, but that would be cheating.
Woah. Now that's cool.
...not to say downright chilly...

I'd use aluminum. It's softer, easier to work, and lighter than steel, and can be polished to a mirror finish, if that's what you want. Heavy-duty aluminum cookie sheets or jelly roll pans are a good source for material, unless you happen to live near a sheet metal supplier.

To make the cups, start by making a pattern. Cover the bra cups with low-tack masking tape, then carefully peel it off and nip it until it lays flat. You should wind up with a roughly circular/ovalish shape with a wedge-shaped opening or two. This gives you a basic shape to cut out of the aluminum.
 
When you cut it out, don't cut out the wedges, just pretend they aren't there.
You can cut the shapes out of the aluminum sheet with heavy tin snips, a hacksaw, a rotary tool, or whatever you prefer.

To make them cup-shaped, you will need a hammer with a ball end and a sandbag. You can make a very serviceable sandbag out of an old thrift store leather zippered clutch purse with a ziploc baggie full of sand in it, or use a real canvas sandbag if you have one. Place the metal piece onto the bag and bang on it with the ball end of the hammer, starting in the center and working outward toward the edges. Eventually, it will form into a cup shape. There is quite a bit of finesse involved in shaping metal this way, so you might want to do a practice piece before you start on the real one, just to get the feel of it. Test-fit frequently until you get the shape you want, trim any excess away, smooth the edges, sand and polish until you get the finish you want.

OR

If all of that sounds like more of a project that you are looking for, you might be able cut pieces out of aluminum or steel mixing bowls that are close to the right shape. It depends on the shape of the bra cups and what kinds of bowls you can find.
If you go to aluminium, you need to soften it occasionally, so the metal doesn't crack. Cover the aluminium with soft soap, and heat with a blowtorch until the soap goes black.